The young couple had mastered the morning choreography of their tiny Columbia Heights kitchen. John Van Zandt squeezed into one corner and toasted an English muffin. In another, his wife, Florencia Fuensalida, brewed coffee.
For years, renting a one-bedroom near bars and bus routes was a suitable trade-off for the wonders of the new Washington. But Van Zandt is 35 now; Fuensalida is 31. And kitchen space seemed a little tighter each day Fuensalida’s baby bump grew.
Maneuvering past the fridge, Fuensalida repeated a tired refrain: “We’re going to need a bigger place.” But where?
They were once a part of the free-spending group of young people who jolted Washington’s economy. Now older and with more financial strains, they are trying to find a new place in it.
Amid the talk of young newcomers and their fondness for social leagues and artisanal-coffee shops, another reality exists: Many are struggling to keep pace with the city’s rising cost of housing. And as new millennials move into the District, older members of that generation — loosely defined as ranging from 18 to 34 years old — are heading out.There you have it: The reality of high rents and babies will drive the younger generation (now "Millennials') out of pint-sized apartments and condos in the city and close-in suburbs (such as Arlington) and into the suburbs---places like Reston--or maybe beyond. And it's not just about the added living space at a lower price, it's about schools and a hundred other advantages the suburbs offer for growing families.
For more than four years, Reston resident members of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force tried to make that point, but the developer-dominated task force would not listen and so they are now allowed to build more 20,000-plus small apartments and condos around Reston's Metro stations. It was all about housing the Millenials who, it turns out, are leaving their high-priced mini-abodes!
Yet the Reston developers are not planning on inexpensive units (except for the mandated share of workforce housing units). Just look at rental and condo prices in Reston Town Center. It's housing for six-figure incomes or better.
To the extent these singles and couples work in the District, they will also have to add to their monthly tab a huge transit cost that will only grow as WMATA faces more than $20 BILLION in still unfunded investments in the coming decades.
Does this make sense???
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